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Tennessee’s State Employee Recycling Program Wins EPA Award

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the State Employee Recycling Program will receive a State Government Partner of the Year Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on October 20 in Arlington, Virginia. The State Employee Recycling Program, coordinated by TDEC’s Office of Environmental Assistance, has received a WasteWise Partner of the Year Award from EPA the past four years and continues to expand its waste prevention and recycling efforts. With 32,352 state employees participating, eight new locations were added in 2006 to the more than 50 buildings already taking part in the program. In 2006, the program saved over $20,000 in disposal costs and received more than $3,363 in recycling revenue. Tennessee’s State Employee Recycling Program is one of only 10 programs and organizations set to receive an EPA Partner of the Year Award at EPA’s 2006 WasteWise Annual Conference.

Why recycle office paper?

The SERP program is recycling at a rate of 70.52 tons of office paper per month. It is saving the state over $2,115.00 monthly in landfill costs plus the cost of extra dumpsters and compactors.  From January 1, 1990 to December 31, 2006 state employees recycled 14,386.8 tons of mixed office paper. This produced revenue of $116,040.84 for the state, while avoiding $431,604.00 in landfill costs. These revenues are deposited in the Solid Waste Management Fund.

The first week of our Clothing Drive was held on Wednesday & Thursday, May 9 & 10 from 7-9am & 3-5pm for Mending Hearts, a Safe Place for Women, which is a Community Resource Agency. We collected 67 bags of clothing weighing in at 2,010 pounds. We had 7 volunteers helping out this week. The weather was cool and had scattered showers on Wednesday. On Thursday is was mild cool and some sunshine.

The second week of our Clothing Drive was held on Wednesday & Thursday, May 16 & 17 from 7-9am & 3-5pm for Goodwill Industries. We collected 75 bags of clothing weighing in at 2,250 pounds. We had 7 volunteers helping out this week. The weather was warm to hot, with bright & sunny skies on Wednesday. On Thursday the weather was pleasant sunny and mild.

We posted signs throughout the L&C Tower & Annex building and sent out 5,545 e-mails announcing the GAC event as well as reminders throughout the week. GAC was on our Web page, Intranet site, Tennessean Newspaper, and was covered by WTVF Channel 5 TV station on their newscast.

Fun Facts

Wire Hangers
About 3.5 billion wire hangers go into U.S. landfills every year. That’s 195 million pounds of steel or the equivalent of 60,000 cars. Signature Cleaners provides us with a box to collect hangers that can be returned and reused. You can bring your hangers to office for reuse. Or even simpler, just use your wire hangers to hang the clothes that are heading to the cleaners. Each new hanger costs the dry cleaner approximately $.08 so you can help the environment and support the economy.

Batteries and Cell Phones
Consumers use an average of six wireless products in their day-to-day lives and most cell phones are replaced every 18 to 24 months. That's a lot of rechargeable batteries and cell phones. When it's time to retire your old cell phones or replace your rechargeable batteries, don't forget to recycle them. You'll help preserve natural resources and keep discarded products out of landfills. Just put the phone or battery in the RBRC bag and drop in the Call to Recycle Box.

The following items may also be recycled at TDECís Green Cubicle located on the 8th Floor of the L&C Tower: 

Plastic Bottles

Soda, water, juice & milk (Please rinse and crush plastic bottles)

Ream Wrappers

For gift wrapping, a book cover, or a coloring sheet

Ink Jet Cartridges

Just place in provided zip lock bag

Plastic Can & Bottle Ring Holders No need to cut rings!
Batteries Ni-Cd, silver button batteries, etc. (no wet cell batteries)
Fluorescent Bulbs All varieties (this includes CFLs)
Also you may recycle cell phones, eye glasses, all variety of coat hangers, and holiday/greeting cards.

While the SERP program is still in its growth stages related to collections, everyone can participate in the "3Rís" of solid waste reduction:

REDUCE by making two-sided copies, purchasing products with limited packaging, and buying in bulk.

REUSE by using scrap paper for notes, reusing rubber bands, and paper clips, and showing your style with a ceramic cup rather than disposable ones.

RECYCLE at the source, using the proper collection container for recyclables, attending training updates, and requiring recycled content when printing or purchasing.


What items can you recycle?

If you have questions concerning the State Employee Recycling Program, and would like to be on the mailing list or volunteer to help your associates learn the basics of recycling, please contact either George Kesterson at 615-532-0079 or by email at [email protected] or Christina Treglia at 615-532-9271 or by email at [email protected] .